• Communicable Disease - Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan (March 2021)

    This Continuity of Operations Plan (Plan) has been developed to meet the requirements of subsection (2)(m) of Education Law §2801-a which requires public employers to prepare a plan for the continuation of operations in the event that the Governor declares a public health emergency involving a communicable disease. This plan is built upon the components of the District-Wide School Safety and the Building-Level Emergency Response Plan. The Plan includes elements of COVID-19 Reopening Plan and will be updated at least annually to reflect current guidance and best practices. The District-Wide School Safety Team assumes responsibility for development and compliance with all provisions of this plan and implementation at the building level through the Building-Level Emergency Response Team.

    The district will work closely with the Albany County Department of Health (local health department) to determine the need for activation of this plan. The district will report suspected and confirmed cases of communicable diseases (e.g., influenza, coronavirus, etc.) on a monthly Communicable Disease Report and submit it as required by the local health department. Depending on the severity of the disease, the district may be required to report information more frequently and in another format (i.e., daily for COVID-19).

    The local health department will monitor county-wide communicable disease cases and inform school districts as to appropriate actions.

    When this plan is activated, the District-Wide School Safety Team may invite additional people to the meetings to aid in the planning efforts:

    • District Medical Director
    • School nurse
    • Technology Support
    • Treasurer (Human Resources)
    • Business Manager
    • Facility Director
    • BOCES Communications
    • Curriculum Director

    Communication with parents, students, staff, and the school community is important throughout a pandemic outbreak. Communication methods will include postings to the district website, general mailings, email, social media, text messaging, school communication apps, and the public media. The district communications lead (BOCES Communications) has been designated to coordinate this effort. BOCES Communications will work closely with Technology Support to ensure proper function of all communication systems.

    A. Essential Positions/Titles

    The district has developed this plan to prepare for any future government ordered shutdowns that may occur, similar to the coronavirus shutdown in the spring of 2020. Attachment 1 includes a list of essential positions that would be required to be on-site or in district to continue to function as opposed to those positions that could work remotely. The list includes:

    • Title – a list of positions/titles considered essential (i.e., could not work remotely) in the event of a state-ordered reduction of in-person workforce.
    • Description – brief description of job function.
    • Justification - brief description of critical responsibilities that could not be provided remotely.
    • Work Shift – brief description of how work shifts of essential employees and/or contractors will be staggered in order to reduce overcrowding in the district.
    • Protocol – how precise hours and work locations, including off-site visits, will be documented for essential employees and contractors.

    Continuity of operations could be severely impacted by a loss of staff. The table below describes the procedures for maintaining essential functions and services by planning for backup personnel.

    Overall Operations (Superintendent)

    Task

    Have decision-making authority for the district.

    Make district policies and procedures to reflect crisis response.

    Backups

    Those listed below are assigned to this role:

    • Superintendent, Kimberly Ross
    • Business Manager and Director of Facilities, Christopher Karwiel

    Business Office

    Task

    Maintain overall function and facilities operation.

    Review essential functions and responsibilities of back-up personnel.

    Monitor utilization of supplies, equipment, contracts, and provided services and adjust as necessary

    Backups

    Purchasing

    • Kimberly Ross

    Payroll

    • Kimberly Watkins

    Additional functions

    • Christopher Karwiel

    Health Services (Nurse)

    Task

    Assist with contact tracing, health screenings and provide additional information for families as needed.

    Backups

    Staff member, Kelley Valentine, who is also a registered nurse

    Facilities

    Task

    Keep the Business Office informed of staffing issues and of the point at which buildings can no longer be maintained

    Provided building administrators with procedures for maintaining essential building functions (e.g., HVAC system operation, alarms, security, etc.) along with a list of telephone numbers of outside companies and alternates for repair and maintenance of these systems

    Meet with staff and monitor their ability to maintain essential function

    Human Resources (Treasurer)

    Task

    Monitors absenteeism and ensures appropriate delegation of authority

    Work with bargaining units to develop the plan for emergency use of personnel in non-traditional functions and changes in the normal work-day such as alternate or reduced work hours, working from home, etc.

    Backups

    Recruitment/Staffing

    • Tiffany Dzembo

    Workplace Safety

    • Christopher Karwiel

    Training

    • Tiffany Dzembo

    Labor Law Compliance

    • Kimberly Ross

    Compensation Planning

    • Tiffany Dzembo & Chris Karwiel

    Continuity of Instruction (Curriculum Director)

    Task

    Will be implemented in the event of significant absences or school closure.
    Alternate learning strategies will include:

    • 1:1 Devices for every student K-12
    • Google Classroom capabilities for synchronous instruction
    • Hard copy, self-directed lessons
    • Use of mobile media storage devices for lessons (CDs, Jump Drives, IPads)
    • On-line instruction; on-line resources; on-line textbooks
    • Communication modalities for assignment postings and follow-up: telephone; Postal Service; cell phone, cell phone mail, text messages; e-mail; automated notification systems; website postings

    B. Working/Learning Remotely

    The District will assess devices and technology needs of all non-essential employees and contractors in order to enable telecommuting.

    Options for assessing district needs include stakeholder meetings or surveys to ascertain:

    • Who will need devices and/or peripherals at home,
    • What programs will need to be added to these devices, and
    • The availability of viable existing at-home Internet service.

    The information from these surveys will be used to determine what items need to be purchased, which programs need to be installed on devices and if appropriate Internet bandwidth can be provided to those in need.

    C. Staggered Shifts

    Depending on the exact nature of the communicable disease and its impact, the district is prepared to use the strategies below to reduce traffic congestion and maintain social distancing:

    • Limiting building occupancy to 25%, 50% or 75% of capacity or the maximum allowable by state or local guidance.
    • Forming employee work shift cohorts to limit potential contacts.
    • Limit employee travel within the building and/or between buildings.
    • Limit restroom usage to specific work areas.
    • Stagger arrival and dismissal times.
    • Alternate work-days or work weeks.
    • Implement a four-day work week.
    • Limit or eliminate visitors to the building.

    The district may need to include additional strategies based on updated federal, state, and local guidance.

    D. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings

    The district will procure a six-month supply of face coverings and PPE required for essential work tasks. Disposable PPE will be provided in quantities of at least two pieces per work day.

    • N-95: Nurses; Cleaners/Custodians (based on disinfectants used)
    • Face Shields: Nurses; Special Education
    • Gowns: Nurses; Special Education
    • Gloves: Nurses; Special Education; Cleaners/Custodians; Maintenance/Mechanics
    • Cloth Face Coverings*: All faculty, staff and students
      • *Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment by OSHA because their capability to protect the wearer is unknown. However, cloth face coverings are important as a source control for COVID-19 and provides some protection to the wearer. As such, OSHA strongly encourages workers to wear face coverings.

    Those individuals that are required to wear N-95 respirators will be fit-tested and medically screened prior to use to ensure they are physically able to do so.

    The use of cloth face coverings to reduce the spread of communicable diseases is important to the health and safety of faculty, staff and students. Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected (asymptomatic) and are essential when physical distancing is difficult. Information will be provided to faculty, staff and students on proper use, removal, and cleaning of cloth face coverings. All faculty, staff and students will be encouraged to utilize their own personal face coverings but the district will secure and provide face coverings as needed.

    PPE and face coverings will be stored in a manner which will prevent degradation. These supplies will be monitored to ensure integrity and track usage rates. District communication on how to access PPE will be provided.

    E. Response Protocols for Preventing Spread

    The District-Wide School Safety Team will meet to determine the need for activation of a pandemic response based on internal monitoring and correspondence with the local health department and other experts.

    • The Incident Command Structure at both the District and Building level will be informed that the response effort has been enacted. These individuals will meet to discuss the plan’s activation and review responsibilities and communication procedures.
    • Communications will work closely with the IT department to re-test all communication systems to ensure proper function. The District-wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will assist in this effort.
    • An alert will be sent to the school community upon activation of this plan. The communication will be based on the latest information from federal, state and local health authorities.
    • If the decision is made to close a school building, the district will notify the NYS Education Department and District Superintendent.

    The district will assign a communicable disease safety coordinator, School Superintendent and/or designee whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the district’s reopening plan and any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels. The coordinators shall be the main contact upon the identification of positive communicable disease cases and are responsible for subsequent communication. Coordinators shall be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the public health emergency and plans implemented by the school.

    Hand Hygiene

    Faculty, staff, and students will be trained on proper hand hygiene. Information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce hand hygiene at home. The district will provide stations around the school buildings:

    • For hand washing: soap, running water, and disposable paper towels.
    • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where hand washing facilities may not be available or practical.
    • Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

    Communicable Disease Exposures

    The district must be prepared for communicable disease outbreaks in their local communities and for individual exposure events to occur in their facilities, regardless of the level of community transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have provided recommendations for strategies to follow after an exposure:

    • Close off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;
    • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
    • Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible;
    • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas.
    • Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected it can be reopened for use.
    • Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.
    • If more than seven days have passed since the person who is suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease visited or used the facility, additional cleaning or disinfection is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.

    Returning after Illness

    The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for communicable disease symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

    • Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
    • Negative diagnostic test result
    • Symptom resolution, or if positive for a communicable disease, release from isolation

    The district will refer to the NYSDOH’s “Pre-K to Gr 12 COVID-19 Toolkit” and other applicable guidance regarding protocols and policies for faculty, staff, and students seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed communicable disease case or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with a communicable disease.

    The district requires that individuals who were exposed to a communicable disease complete quarantine and have no symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

    Cleaning/Disinfecting

    The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and NYSDOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection - Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes” and other guidance, as applicable.

    Attachment 2 describes cleaning and disinfection protocols and procedures for the district. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which will be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.

    The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.

    Employee Communications

    The school district has determined employee policies for available leave in the event of the need of an employee to receive testing, treatment, isolation, or quarantine. These policies are consistent with existing federal, state, or local law, including regarding sick leave or health information privacy. The school district will follow protocols set forth by the local health department.

    F. Contact Tracing Supports

    The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive communicable disease diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.

    Districts may assist with contact tracing by:

    • Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
    • Ensuring student schedules are up to date
    • Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
    • Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program

    The district, in consultation with the local health department, will determine what process will be followed when communicable disease cases are discovered in the school (e.g., how many individuals will be quarantined, closing of areas or classrooms, etc.).

    Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

    G. Housing for Essential Employees

    Emergency housing for essential workers is not considered to be required for school faculty and staff. The need for emergency housing will be determined with direction from the local department of health.

    Recovery

    Re-establishing the normal school curriculum is essential to the recovery process and should occur as soon as possible. The district will

    • Work toward a smooth transition from the existing learning methods to the normal process.
    • Use the described communication methods to keep the school community aware of the transition process.
    • Work closely with the New York State Education Department to revise or amend the school calendar as deemed appropriate.
    • Evaluate all building operations for normal function and re-implement appropriate maintenance and cleaning procedures.

    Each Building-Level Post-incident Response Team will assess the emotional impact of the crisis on students and staff and make recommendations for appropriate intervention. The District-Wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will meet to de-brief and determine lessons learned with input from all essential functions. The District-Wide School Safety Plan and Building-Level Emergency Response Plans will be updated accordingly.

    Curriculum activities that may address the crisis will be developed and implemented.

    Attachment 1 – Essential Positions

    Superintendent

    • Description: CEO of district
    • Justification: Oversee all instructional and non instructional functions of the district
    • Work shift: If necessary alternate half day shifts with School Business Manager so that there is one administrator on site and one working remotely
    • Protocol: Superintendent will share with all stakeholders precise hours and work locations internally via email

    Business Administration

    • Description: CFO of district
    • Justification: Day to day operations and fiscal responsibilities must continue for the district
    • Work shift: If necessary alternate half day shifts with Superintendent so that there is one administrator on site and one working remotely
    • Protocol: Superintendent will share with all stakeholders precise hours and work locations internally via email

    Human Resources

    • Description: Treasurer
    • Justification: In order to complete financial responsibilities of the district including purchasing and payroll, the Treasurer will be required to be on site at least once a week to access printing materials and banking
    • Work shift: Once a week to work on site. The Treasurer on site will coordinate with the Business Manager
    • Protocol: Superintendent will share with all stakeholders precise hours and work locations internally via email

    Facilities Services

    • Description: Custodial and Mechanical Supervisors
    • Justification: To ensure the building integrity, B&G staff will need to be on site to sanitize and disinfect the building.
    • Work shift: B&G supervisors will create a rotating schedule so that no more than 4 are on site at the same time
    • Protocol: This rotation schedule will be approved by the Business Manager and shared to internal stakeholders

    Food Service

    • Description: Cafe Staff (2)
    • Justification: Prepare meal deliveries to families
    • Work shift: Two days a week, cafe staff will be on site to prepare multi-day meals for delivery
    • Protocol: The meal delivery scheduled will be coordinated by the building principal and communicated internal via email and communicated via automated calls, emails and website to families

    Communications

    • Description: Will work remotely

    Technology

    • Description: IT coordinator
    • Justification: Continual support our students 1:1 devices and individual hot spots
    • Work shift: The Technology coordinator will be on site during the instructional day
    • Protocol: Communication will be shared via the district remote plan and district website

    Attachment 2 – Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols and Procedures

    Classrooms

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
    • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs, and floors

    Restrooms

    • Cleaning Frequency: 2x Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: 2x Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Doors and sinks will be done twice daily. Floors will be done once daily.

    Health Offices/Isolation Rooms

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Responsible Party: Nursing staff; Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Cots, bathrooms and health office equipment will be cleaned after each use. Floors will be done once daily.

    Breakrooms

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Doors, tables, chairs and floors

    Cafeterias/Kitchens

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; cafeteria staff
    • Additional Information: Tables and chairs will be cleaned/disinfected in between each group’s use. Floors will be done once daily.

    Science Labs

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
    • Additional Information: Equipment to be cleaned/disinfected between each use. Doors, tables, chairs and floors will be done once daily.

    Maintenance Office and Work Areas

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs and floors

    Libraries

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Equipment to be cleaned/disinfected between each use. Doors, tables, chairs and floors will be done once daily.

    Administrative Offices

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs, and floors

    Large Meeting Areas (e.g., gymnasiums, auditoriums, music rooms)

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Gymnasium used and cleaned daily between classes and team practices

    Athletic Training Rooms, Locker Rooms

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily/Upon use
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Locker Rooms cleaned after team use

    Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, copy machine buttons, handles, etc.)

    • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
    • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
    • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
    • Additional Information: Surfaces are cleaned and disinfected on a nightly basis by our custodial staff.

    Shared frequently touched surfaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, phones, laptops, tablets, remote controls, etc.)

    • Cleaning Frequency: After each use
    • Disinfection Frequency: After each use
    • Responsible Party: Staff using shared surfaces
    • Additional Information: Surfaces cleaned between uses by staff members within the classrooms/offices

    Shared equipment (e.g., hand tools, facilities equipment, groundskeeping equipment, golf cart, etc.)

    • Cleaning Frequency: After each use
    • Disinfection Frequency: After each use
    • Responsible Party: Staff using equipment
    • Additional Information: Tools and facilities equipment are used generally while wearing gloves, however items are disinfected after use.

    Only district approved chemicals will be used. At no time will students be allowed use cleaners or disinfectants.